At the peace poetry reading, we gather
in the crowded coffee house, poets
who have written poems of peace.
We recite our pieces to applause,
nod and take a seat. Mohammed,
there with his dark-haired, dark-
eyed wife, distributes his poems,
written in Urdu and English, speaks
in Urdu, a melodic language, intricate
as the architecture of his homeland,
then turns to English, a language
created to deliver straight-forward
words. Urdu is heard, Mohammed’s
accent still strong, even after years
of living in America. Poems of love,
of joyous parties, of family, of land,
lift us, make us smile. After, we gather
around, talk about the next time, freed
from the darkness outside the windows
of the brightly lit coffee shop.
Diane Wahto received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985 and has been writing poetry ever since. Her latest publication, “Empty Corners,” is in the spring 2017 issue of Same. She was co-editor of 365 Days, an anthology of the 365 Facebook page poets. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Patrick Roche and their dog Annie.
Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is President of the Kansas Authors Club. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.